13 Sept 2023

13 Sep 23 - G463 Goes Visiting

Wednesdays are my normal volunteering day on the Dorset Wildlife Trust Brownsea reserve. On this Wednesday, I had taken an early boat in the hope of checking the Waders for something more interesting than the regular species. I was part of the way through checking & counting the Waders, when everything took off. This includes the normally unconcerned Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Great Black-backed Gulls. It clearly was a visit from something larger than a Peregrine, an Osprey or a Buzzard flying by, as the Cormorants, Oystercatchers and especially the Great Black-backed Gulls won't react to one of those Raptors. The culprit was quickly seen flying over the back of the lagoon: a White-tailed Sea-eagle. There was no longer any point in trying to look at the Waders as they were going in every direction, so I picked up the camera to get some photos.
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463. The first pass over the summering Brent Goose: who decided against taking to the air
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463. Coming in for a second pass
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463. It was confirmed as the local male by Paul from the Birds of Poole Harbour team who has access to the GPS tracking data
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463. The Black-headed Gull provides a good size comparison
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463. Showing why they are called Barn Doors
White-tailed Sea-eagle: Male G463. The local male only has one foot. It lost the other foot in an unknown incident after it was released: possibly from landing on a live power cable, which has been documented for other White-tailed Sea-eagles
White-tailed Sea-eagle: It sat on the lagoon for a couple of minutes, before disappearing when I was checking the photos
There has been a resident pair of White-tailed Sea-eagles from the Isle of Wight reintroduction project in the Wareham Channel for over a year now. They mainly spent their time in the Wareham Channel and the surrounding areas, but they sometimes explore elsewhere in Poole Harbour & beyond. It's been a couple of months since the last sighting at Brownsea, but it's always a risk that they will turn up & disturb the whole lagoon. Visitors to the DWT Brownsea reserve often ask if they will see a White-tailed Sea-eagle. I always answer "hopefully not", before explaining how much disturbance they will cause and encouraging them to book onto a Birds of Poole Harbour Bird Boat if they want to see one.